Eastman News Highlights November 21, 2016

Here are some select recent clippings showing the variety of hits/mentions identifying musicians and scholars as Eastman School of Music alumni, faculty or students. (Note: Some links may have expired.)

Why It’s More Difficult than Ever to become an Opera Singer

(WQXR 11/15/2016)

On Nov. 14, the Eastman Philharmonia appeared at Alice Tully Hall. This orchestra of young musicians enrolled at the Eastman School of Music did themselves proud in symphonic showpieces by Ravel and Prokofiev under the baton of Neil Varon. Also on the program was a new song cycle by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts that are settings of letters by artist Georgia O’Keeffe. They were sung by the illustrious Eastman alumna Renée Fleming. This was only the latest of many new and unusual works performed by the 57-year-old soprano. The five songs and their richly evocative orchestral accompaniment are excellent and will appeal to sopranos looking for new repertory. Fleming actively engaged with the music and text, leaving a deep impression that went far beyond her starry presence. (Also reported by Berkshire Fine Arts, BroadwayWorld Opera, Agente France Presse, SuperConductor, Concerto.net )

Renée Fleming debuts sold-out “Letters from Georgia” opera

(Democrat and Chronicle 11/13/2016)

The lives of artists and writers are built for opera. The angst and madness of our creative minds ranks second only to the tortured underworld of Wagner. But in Letters From Georgia, written for the Eastman Philharmonia and soprano superstar Renée Fleming, composer Kevin Puts reaches for something far more subtle. Moments of great beauty, read with arcing passion by Fleming, pulled from letters written by the artist Georgia O’Keeffe. A 23-minute opera that is only half the story; will we hear the rest of it?

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater was sold out for this moment Saturday night. A homecoming for the Pulitzer-Prize winning Puts, who spent his undergrad and master’s degree years at the Eastman School of Music. And as all 2,326 people in the house were aware, it was a homecoming for Fleming as well. She grew up in Churchville, but belongs to the world. Fleming is a force in opera, which you must be if you’re singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and want to be heard over the bloodlust howl of a Super Bowl crowd ready for the kickoff.

Don’t Blame Anyone debuts at Eastman: Opera, comedy, amazing

(Democrat and Chronicle 11/17/2016)

It is a dream, it is comedy. Don’t Blame Anyone, Darren Stevenson warned the audience before the first note was struck by the Eastman Broadband Ensemble, is the creative mind’s worst nightmare, “the terror of the empty page.” And, said the co-founder of Rochester’s PUSH Physical Theatre, “We are not trying to be political in any way. This is personal.”

Don’t Blame Anyone, which premiered Wednesday for several hundred people in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, is opera. It is contemporary classical music. It is dance. It is theater. It is puppetry. And it is weird and amazing. Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, have given birth to a masterwork of the abstract and avant-garde. It is the first opera, or whatever it is, composed by an Eastman faculty member to debut in the venue in 60 years. Don’t Blame Anyone moves on to Teatro Diana in Guadalajara, Mexico, for a Nov. 24 performance. (Related story here )

Free ESO Family Concert with the ESO Woodwind Quintet Nov. 20 at the Gail Borden Public Library

(Chicago Tribune 11/15/2016)

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) Family Concert Series presents The Elgin Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet, featuring Jean Bishop, flute, Gene Collerd, clarinet, Debra Freedland, oboe, Sharon Jones, horn and Collin Anderson, bassoon, on Sunday, November 20 at 2 pm at the Gail Borden Public Library, Meadows Community Room in Elgin.

Since 2009, bassoonist Collin Anderson has been a member of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. He has been a member of the Lake Forest Symphony since 2000. He has also appeared with the Grant Park Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Chicago Opera Theater. Collin is an adjunct bassoon instructor at Northeastern Illinois University, and North Park University. Collin attended the Eastman School of Music earning a Bachelor of Music Degree in bassoon performance and a Master’s Degree in bassoon.

Jewish arts celebration in Hempfield includes recital

(Tribune Review Live 11/14/2016)

A recital at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg celebrating the diversity of Jewish music will feature internationally esteemed pianist Daria Rabotkina. abotkina’s credentials as a pianist are impressive. She was born in Russia to a musical family and gave her first recital at age 10. After beginning her musical education in Russia, she continued her studies at Mannes College of Music in New York City and earned her doctoral degree and artist certificate from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. She has won prizes in numerous international competitions and has performed at the Kennedy Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, among other prestigious venues. She is currently an assistant professor of piano at Texas State University.

Young violinist to play at library this weekend

(CN Weekly 11/12/2016)

When 21-year-old student violinist Lila Pollack solos with the Music Company Orchestra Saturday in its performance at the Clifton Park Halfmoon Library, she’ll be standing with her back to one of her biggest fans. Lila’s grandfather, Saratoga Springs resident Alan Arnold, is first chair violist for the community orchestra, and is enormously – and justifiably – proud of his daughter. Lila is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, where she is concertmistress (first chair violin) for the school’s orchestra. She plans to audition this spring both in the U.S. and abroad, for Master’s programs in music performance at prestigious conservatories, but first she must perform her senior recital Dec. 13 at Eastman.

Organ virtuoso Ryan in series debut

(The Ridgefield Press 11/16/2016)

Jonathan Ryan, concert organ virtuoso, will make his Fountain Music Series debut Sunday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m. at First Congregational Church. Born into a musical family in Charlotte, N.C., Ryan started playing the organ at the age of 8. He received his bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music and his master of music degree at the Eastman School of Music.

Genesee Community College’s Annual Encore Highlights Dual Milestones

(WBTA AM 1490 11/18/2016)

Soprano soloist Emily Helenbrook returns to the GCC stage after bedazzling Encore audiences back in 2010. Now 22 years old and a recent graduate from the Eastman School of Music, the Alexander native has been a featured soloist for the BPO several times, and she has performed nationally on the ‘From the Top’ show. Helenbrook has been recognized by the Am-pol Eagle with the Citizen of the Year Award in Music and also by Go Art! for her efforts to “raise the bar musically, creatively and altruistically for young artists in the community.” She also won first place in the Barry Alexander International Voice Competition resulting in a debut at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall.

Vocals, Piano Showcased at “Afternoon Music” Performance Dec. 4

(TAPintoSummit.net 11/17/2016)

Mezzo-soprano Melissa Attebury, tenor Stephen Sands and pianist Mitchell Vines will perform the first concert of Afternoon Music’s 2016-17 season on December 4 at The Unitarian Church in Summit, beginning at 4 p.m.

Vines earned a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he held a fellowship in accompanying and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate.  He is currently music and choir director at The Unitarian Church in Summit and Temple Israel of the City of New York.

Festival of Lessons and Carols: A Spencer tradition develops

(The Daily Reporter 11/17/2016)

New this year will be the formation of three choirs composed of area singers. The only difference between the choirs are when they rehearse. “Spencer has no shortage of musical talent,” said Stephen Baker, who has been the director of music at Bethany Lutheran Church in Spencer since September 2013 where, in addition to playing the organ and piano in church, he directs the choir, handbells, praise band, ukulele group, and a children’s music program.

Stephen Baker is originally from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and studied organ performance at both Central Michigan University and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He was inspired to pursue music by his grandfather who taught theory and composition for many years at the University of Dubuque.